Just one week left to submit your entry for our Gringo” moment in Brazil competition. It can be short, just a brief description of a moment when you mixed up your Portuguese to give a slightly different meaning than intended. We already have quite a few entries related to difficulty pronouncing “po” and “coco”, so try to come up with something different!!! You have until Dec. 24 to send us your entry. First prize a brand new Apple iPad mini, for pick up in São Paulo. For more information and entry form click here
Love Them Coconuts
In a typical conversation in Portuguese years ago with a number of Brazilians, I was asked if I was enjoying all the different foods and fruits that Brazil has to offer. I really did enjoy the variety of fruits and vegetables here and being an adventurous spirit I was trying as much new stuff as possible. Still thinking in English and translating most of the time I responded that I was eating everything. “Eu como todas”. I didn’t figure out for a long time why that cracked them up but they were howling with laughter as I accidentally said I have sex with everyone.
When I arrived in Brazil from England in 1999 it was January, very hot with temperatures up to 40 degrees and there were so many mosquitoes. I was living and teaching in an English school and one day a staff member at the school asked me (in Portuguese) what I thought of São Paulo. There were lots of other teachers sitting in the staff lounge and I replied in portuguese, trying my very hardest to speak correctly – “Eu estou gostando muito, s que tenho muito problema com os PENISLONGOS”. (I am enjoying it alot, only I have alot of problems with the long penises!) I should have said “pernilongos”!
It happened at a gas station in Braslia where I took my car to change the “motor oil”. At that time I was not so good in Portuguese, so I practiced the phrase “troca de leo” at home but when I said at gas station everyone started laughing and calling their other colleagues to share it, and I was standing there clueless, unaware what was happening… Then one of them came to me and explained that it’s because that the way I said it sounded like “troca de OLHO” or “I want to change my EYE”.
I am originally from Mexico, lived all my adult life in the United States, and recently moved to Brazil. I speak Spanish and English. So when the family of a friend from work invited me for a wonderful meal, and churrasco, I was thinking that by using my Spanish, rather than English, I could get my point across easier. When my friend’s mother came out with the dessert (sobremesa), after tasting it, I politely said to her: “el bolo esta exquisito” She had been all smiles through the whole evening, but she had a different expression when I blurted that!
I quickly learnt that, while in Spanish ‘exquisito’ is really good, tasty…In Portuguese, it is almost, exactly the opposite! In fact if you are a male, and they say that about you…watch out!
The Perfect Gift
One of my more memorable blunders with Portuguese took place in a busy shopping centre in São Paulo. My Brazilian girlfriend and I were out Christmas shopping and she had just asked me for suggestions about what to buy her father. I happened to know that he really likes a Portuguese wine called “Periquita” so I shouted up to her on the busy escalator. “Eu sei! Seu pai gosta muito de Periquita!” What I didn’t know was that while in European Portuguese “Periquita”, is a half decent red wine, in Brazilian Portuguese it is slang for a woman’s private parts.
Click below to see more entries:
Gringo Moments in Brazil – Part I
Gringo Moments in Brazil – Part II